By GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
CLARKSVILLE — Your team loses by 23 points one night, and you are happy with the way they played.
The team wins the next night by eight points, and you are unhappy.
This is the life of a high school basketball coach. This is the life of Providence head coach Rob Murawski.
On Friday night, his Pioneers lost to Class 4A No. 6 Floyd Central 53-30 at home, and he was very pleased with his team’s effort.
Saturday night his team defeated Charlestown 58-50. That was a smaller margin of victory than what many people expected.
The Pioneers, although they led nearly the entire game, were never able to put the scrappy visiting Pirates away. Charlestown would just not quit. In fact, they were within six points at 56-50 late in the game.
“The effort was not the same - that’s for sure,” said Murawski. “We had our moments. We had our spots, but the effort overall wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere near the effort we gave (Friday) night. And Charlestown to their credit played hard. They played well.”
Charlestown coach Jason Connell, on the other hand, was pleased even in defeat. He had been especially apprehensive after a 19-point loss to Rock Creek on Friday night.
“Tonight was a great effort. After (Friday) night’s game, I didn’t know how we’d come out tonight. I’m proud of the way they played tonight,” Connell said.
Each coach believes fatigue played a factor for their team. This was Charlestown’s ninth game in the young season.
“We’re tired,” said Connell. “It’s not an excuse or anything, but they’re tired. They’re exhausted. We’ve played more games already than everybody else, and the kids are tired.”
Providence (2-3) had a tough game against a much bigger and more physical Floyd Central Friday.
“That’s not an excuse,” said Murawski. “We’ve got to learn to play through that.”
In the first quarter, Charlestown grabbed its only lead of the game at 5-4. But it also managed to tie the game five times.
That first period was highlighted by Providence placing two of its most important starters, Blake Murphy and Cullen Ebert, on the bench with two fouls. To compound the matter, Murphy’s substitute, Hayden Burke, quickly picked up two fouls as well.
The second period appeared to be going the exact same way as the Pirates tied the game one final time at 21. Providence ended the half on a 10-0 run to put some distance between the teams. The Pioneers’ Sterling Huber hit a 3-pointer to end the run. Huber ended the night with five 3-pointers.
“Foul problems hurt us at first, but we’ve got to play through that,” said Murawski. “They didn’t really hurt us that much, though.”
Providence stretched its advantage to as many as 16 points in the final quarter at 49-33 after a Murphy field goal.
But Charlestown (2-7) would not give up. A 17-7 run got them to within six points late in the fourth quarter.
“When we got down 14, I thought we’re really going to fold now. But we didn’t,” said Connell. “I thought tonight I was very patient with them, and they didn’t succumb to the pressure. I’m very bad about being patient.”
Two points, in particular, displeased Murawski. One was his team’s defense, which it played well against Floyd Central.
“Our defense was not the same as it was (Friday) night,” said Murawski. “We gave up a lot of layups. It wasn’t there.”
The other item involves his big man, Murphy. The 6-foot-5 senior scored only six points against Floyd Central, and then tallied 13 against Charlestown.
“We’ve got to get Blake Murphy more involved. We’ve got to get him the ball more,” said Murawski. “He scored 13 tonight, but he could’ve had more than that.”
Huber led the Pioneers in scoring with 15 — all of them coming from outside the arc. Ebert ended up with 13.
Courtland Black, who transferred from Providence to Charlestown this year, led the Pirates in scoring with 14 points. Max Mitchell and Bo Braunecker added 13 apiece.
Providence will play three games in the Hancock County (Ky.) Tournament on Wednesday, Thursday and this coming Friday. The Pioneers will face 4-2 Central Hardin (Ky.) in the tournament opener at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday.
Charlestown will not play again until the Silver Creek Holiday Tournament semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29. The Pirates will play Clarksville (5-2) in the first semifinal.
PROVIDENCE 58, CHARLESTOWN 50
Charlestown 15 6 12 17—50
Providence 18 13 12 15—58
Charlestown (2-7): Brady Lathem 3, Max Mitchell 13, Courtland Black 14, Addison Logsdon 5, Bo Braunecker 13, Braiden Murphy 0, Matt Parrella 0, Ty Crace 2, Matt Fellows 0.
Providence (2-3): Cullen Ebert 13, Sterling Huber 15, Austin Barnett 0, Reece Libs 7, Blake Murphy 13, Nick Sexton 6, Hayden Burke 1, Aiden Finnegan 0, Trey Beatty 3.
3-point field goals: Charlestown 5 (Braunecker 3, Black 1, Logsdon 1); Providence 10 (Huber 5, Ebert 3, Sexton 1, Beatty 1).
Total fouls: Charlestown 20, Providence 15.
Fouled out: none.
Junior varsity: Providence 62, Charlestown 36.